We know how difficult it is to choose a book for your next book group meeting, and to find enough copies for all the members of your group. We've made it easier for you by collecting donated and withdrawn copies of discussible books and putting all the copies in a canvas bag. We've included discussion questions and information about each author in a folder for each collection.
There are at least 8 copies of the book in each kit. At this time we have over 400 kits for you to choose from.
Printable lists of titles are also available, without cover art, sorted by title and by author.
How can we get a kit?
Call us at 608-266-6300 and we will help you check out a kit. The kit will be checked out on the library card of the person picking them up. The person checking out the kit may choose a due date for the kit, up to 3 months from the day they pick it up. Due to high demand, please take only one or two kits at a time. Kits can be shipped to any library in Madison as well as any public library in the South Central Library System.
What if a book is lost?
If your group happens to lose a book, we ask that you replace it with another copy of the book, new or second hand, that is clean and readable.
Search our collection of kits
This haunting novel spanning several generations follows a Dakhóta family's struggle to preserve their way of life, and their sacrifices to protect what matters most, told through the voices of women who have protected their families, their traditions, and a precious cache of seeds through generations of hardship and loss, through war and the insidious trauma of boarding schools.
An intimate, heart wrenching portrait of one small hospital that reveals the magnitude of America's healthcare crisis and offers a blueprint for how we created it.
When her husband of a year disappears, Hannah quickly learns he is not who he said he was and is left to sort out the truth with just one ally- her husband's teenage daughter, who hates her.
In 1944 Chicago, a young woman’s search for the truth about her revered older sister's death brings to focus the struggles of one Japanese American family released from mass incarceration at Manzanar during World War II.
The remarkable, little-known story of Belle da Costa Greene, J. P. Morgan's personal librarian, who became one of the most powerful women in New York despite the dangerous secret she kept in order to make her dreams come true: Belle's complexion isn't dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white-her complexion is dark because she is African American.
When twenty-nine-year-old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, bruised and battered after a drunk driving accident she caused, she swallows her pride and goes home to her family in New York. But it's not easy. She deserted them all--and her high school sweetheart--five years before with little explanation, and they've got questions.
A story of summer, secrets, love, and lies: in the course of a singular day on Cape Cod, one woman must make a life-changing decision that has been brewing for decades. Tender yet devastating, The Paper Palace considers the tensions between desire and dignity, the legacies of abuse, and the crimes and misdemeanors of families.
The Delaney family is a communal foundation. Stan and Joy are the envy of all of their friends. One night a stranger named Savannah knocks on Stan and Joy's door. Everyone will wonder what exactly went on in that household after Savannah entered their lives that night. Because now Joy is missing, no one knows where Savannah is, and the Delaneys are reexamining their parents' marriage and their shared family history with fresh, frightened eyes.
A hilarious, romantic, and sexy‑as‑hell story of two writers discovering their second chance at love over seven days during a steamy Brooklyn summer.
Linus Baker is a by-the-book case worker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He's tasked with determining whether six dangerous magical children are likely to bring about the end of the world. Arthur Parnassus is the master of the orphanage. He would do anything to keep the children safe, even if it means the world will burn. And his secrets will come to light.
The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past.
A short, piercing, deeply moving novel about the death of Shakespeare's 11 year old son Hamnet--a name interchangeable with Hamlet in 15th century Britain--and the years leading up to the production of his great play.
Making a Faustian bargain to live forever but never be remembered, a woman from early eighteenth-century France endures unacknowledged centuries before meeting a man who remembers her name.
In September 1969, a fumbling, cranky old church deacon known as Sportcoat shuffles into the courtyard of the Cause Houses housing project in south Brooklyn, pulls a .45 from his pocket, and in front of everybody shoots the project's drug dealer at point-blank range. The reasons for this desperate burst of violence and the consequences that spring from it lie at the heart of this funny, moving novel.
An electrifying debut novel about three unforgettable characters who seek to rise-- to the middle class, to political power, to fame in the movies -- and find their lives entangled in the wake of a catastrophe in contemporary India.
From sixteen-year-old Dara McAnulty, a globally renowned figure in the youth climate activist movement, comes a memoir about loving the natural world and fighting to save it.
Almost everything about Wallace is at odds with the Midwestern university town where he is working uneasily toward a biochem degree. An introverted young man from Alabama, black and queer, he has left behind his family without escaping the long shadows of his childhood. For reasons of self-preservation, Wallace has enforced a wary distance even within his own circle of friends--some dating each other, some dating women, some feigning straightness.
The child of a married Japanese aristocrat and her African American GI lover, Nori is an outsider from birth. Her grandparents take her in, only to conceal her, fearful of a stain on the royal pedigree that they are desperate to uphold in a changing Japan. But when chance brings her older half-brother, Akira, to the estate that is his inheritance and destiny, Nori finds in him an unlikely ally with whom she forms a powerful bond--a bond their formidable grandparents cannot allow and that will irrevocably change the lives they were always meant to lead.
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of a person's life as it is, along with another book for the other life they could have lived if they had made a different choice at any point in their life. While everyone wonders how their lives might have been, what if someone had the chance to go to the library and see for themself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
Six years after the fight that ended their friendship, Daphne Berg is shocked when Drue Cavanaugh walks back into her life, looking as lovely and successful as ever, with a massive favor to ask. Daphne hasn't spoken one word to Drue in all this time--she doesn't even hate-follow her ex-best friend on social media--so when Drue asks if she will be her maid-of-honor at the society wedding of the summer, Daphne is rightfully speechless. Drue was always the one who had everything--except the ability to hold onto friends.
A captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it.
In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves the Thursday Murder Club. When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case.
This epic novel spanning decades and crossing continents follows two young people as they flee the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War in search of a place to call home.
A magnetic novel about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong.
As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi, as well as a majority of other cultures indigenous to this land, consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowing together to reveal what it means to see humans as "the younger brothers of creation."
Margot Lee's mother isn't returning her calls. It's a mystery to twenty-six-year-old Margot, until she visits her childhood apartment in Koreatown and finds her mother, Mina, dead under suspicious circumstances. The discovery sends Margot digging through the past, unraveling the facts of Mina's life as a Korean War orphan and undocumented immigrant, only to realize how little she truly knew about her mother.
Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant. Benson is a Black day care teacher. They've been together for a few years, but now they're not sure why they're still a couple. There's the sex, sure, and the meals Mike cooks for Benson, and, well, they love each other. When Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives in Houston for a visit, Mike picks up and flies across the world to say goodbye. In Japan he discovers the truth about his family and his past.
In his memoir, we are invited to walk through the life of the author, Jim Terry, as he struggles to find security and comfort in an often hostile environment. Between the Ho-Chunk community of his Native American family in Wisconsin and his schoolmates in the Chicago suburbs, he tries in vain to fit in and eventually turns to alcohol to provide an escape from increasing loneliness and alienation.
Sometimes you slip through the cracks: unforeseen circumstances like an abrupt illness, the death of a loved one, a break up, or a job loss can derail a life. These periods of dislocation can be lonely and unexpected. For May, her husband fell ill, her son stopped attending school, and her own medical issues led her to leave a demanding job. Wintering explores how she not only endured this painful time, but embraced the singular opportunities it offered, leading her to form a guiding philosophy for transforming the hardships that arise before the ushering in of a new season.
The lives of three women--transgender and cisgender--collide after an unexpected pregnancy forces them to confront their deepest desires.
From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction--a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us.
Antonia Vega has just retired from the college where she taught English when her beloved husband, Sam, suddenly dies. And then more jolts: her bighearted but unstable sister disappears, and Antonia returns home one evening to find a pregnant, undocumented teenager on her doorstep. Antonia has always sought direction in the literature she loves, but now she finds that the world demands more of her than words. Now she questions: How do we live in a broken world without losing faith in one another or ourselves?
A deeply personal work about identity and belonging in a nation coming apart at the seams, Homeland Elegies blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of longing and dispossession in the world that 9/11 made. Part family drama, part social essay, part picaresque novel, at its heart it is the story of a father, a son, and the country they both call home.
A novel about faith, science, religion, and family that tells the deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief, narrated by a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford school of medicine studying the neural circuits of reward seeking behavior in mice. Chosen as the 2021-22 UW-Madison Go Big Read selection. For information about Madison Public Library book discussions and more, see madisonpubliclibrary.org/gobigread.
A gritty, voice-driven thriller about a former getaway driver who thought he had escaped the criminal life who is pulled back in by race, poverty, and his own former life of crime.
The award-winning author brings her signature voice and insight to the subjects of race, grief, apology, and American history.
Edie is stumbling her way through her twenties -- sharing a subpar apartment in Bushwick and clocking in and out of her admin job. And then she meets Eric, a digital archivist with a family in New Jersey, including a wife who has agreed to an open marriage -- with rules. As if navigating the constantly shifting racial politics weren't hard enough, Edie finds herself unemployed and invited into Eric's home -- though not by Eric. She becomes a hesitant ally to his wife and a de facto role model to his adopted daughter. Edie may be the only Black woman young Akila knows.
Based on the classic film Same Time Next Year, 28 Summers explores the agony and romance of a one-weekend-per-year affair and the dramatic ways this relationship complicates and enriches the lives of two people, as well as the lives of the people they love.
Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency--a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.
An intimate chronicle of Winston Churchill and London during the Blitz--an inspiring portrait of courage and leadership in a time of unprecedented crisis.
The Chai House is a haunting debut novel by a Madison-area author that explores the complexity of community when individuals are unaware of their own roles in upholding systems of oppression. Swati has spent her entire life trying to live up to her family's expectations of her. She has learned it is easiest to just do what is asked of her, without resistance; a skill that has helped her survive in the early years of the Knights, an authoritarian regime. When her mother has a request for Swati, she agrees to it as it is the only way to help her young niece have some sort of future.
An extraordinary story set in the first century about a woman who finds her voice and her destiny in Nazareth, where she marries Jesus.
The unforgettable story of young Hugh "Shuggie" Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in run-down public housing in Glasgow, Scotland, and his alcoholic mother Agnes, whose love is only matched by her pride.
Jane loves most things about Duncan, aside from running into his many old girlfriends everywhere in Boyne City. While she may be able to come to terms with dating the world's most prolific seducer of women, any notion Jane had of love and marriage changes with one terrible car crash in this alternately bittersweet and laugh-out-loud funny novel of love, disaster, and unconventional family.
A twelve-year-old boy struggles with the worst kind of fame--as the sole survivor of a notorious plane crash--in this novel that is a transcendent coming-of-age story, a multidimensional portrait of an unforgettable cast of characters, and a breathtaking illustration of all the ways a broken heart learns to love again.
The heartrending story of a midcentury American family with twelve children, six of them diagnosed with schizophrenia, that became science's great hope in the quest to understand the disease.
A darkly enchanting reimagining of Gothic fantasy, in which a spirited young woman discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.
Based on the author’s Instagram challenge that grew into a cultural movement, #meandwhitesupremacy, the book Me and White Supremacy teaches readers how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.
Taken hostage by a failed bank robber while attending an open house, eight anxiety-prone strangers--including a redemption-seeking bank director, two couples who would fix their marriages, and a plucky octogenarian--discover their unexpected common traits.
A groundbreaking thriller about a vigilante on a Native American reservation who embarks on a dangerous mission to track down the source of a heroin influx.
A series of connected personal stories drawn from the author's life and work as an ER doctor that explores how we are all broken--physically, emotionally, and psychically--and what we can do to heal ourselves as we try to heal others.
In her most revealing and powerful memoir yet, the activist, speaker, and bestselling author explores the joy and peace we discover when we stop striving to meet others' expectations and start trusting the voice deep within us.
A book of great ambition, Sarah M. Broom's The Yellow House tells a hundred years of her family and their relationship to home in a neglected area of one of America's most mythologized cities. Located in the gap between the "Big Easy" of tourist guides and the New Orleans in which Broom was raised, The Yellow House is a brilliant memoir of place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows.
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family's history that began before he was born -- a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam -- and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity.
Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout continues the life of her beloved Olive Kitteridge, a character who has captured the imaginations of millions.
A page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.
In his travelogue of our near future, David Wallace-Wells brings into stark relief the climate troubles that await--food shortages, refugee emergencies, and other crises that will reshape the globe in a meditation on the devastation we have brought upon ourselves and an impassioned call to action.
Most business books provide a one-size-fits-all approach to career advice that overlooks the unique barriers that women of color face. In The Memo, Minda Harts offers a much-needed career guide tailored specifically for women of color. Drawing on knowledge gained from her past career as a fundraising consultant to top colleges across the country, Harts now brings her powerhouse entrepreneurial experience as CEO of The Memo LLC, a career development platform for women of color, to the page.
When Aida Hernandez was born in 1987 in Agua Prieta, Mexico, the nearby U.S. border was little more than a worn-down fence. Eight years later, Aida's mother took her and her siblings to live in Douglas, Arizona. By then, the border had become one of the most heavily policed sites in America. Undocumented, Aida fought to make her way. She learned English, watched Friends, and, after having a baby at sixteen, dreamed of teaching dance and moving with her son to New York City. But life had other plans.